Rebecca Rosenblum was looking for people to play along with The Next Big Thing questionnaire and I was all like, "Okay!" It's always a risk to talk about a book that you're working on, maybe comparable to announcing a successful pregnancy before it's been brought to term. Or maybe not at all. At the same time, doing the long distance work of a whole book tends to create this blousey pocket full of aether in your personal and mental life, and talking about kind of makes it feel like you're working on something real.
What is your working title of your book?
The Kingdom of Reality. On less-than-successful days, The Kingdom of Goddamn Fucking Reality.
In the three years that I’ve been at it in earnest, it’s also been known as Traps and Attractions and My Shitty Novel.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Visiting Arizona in 2005, I saw a news story about a desert community that wanted a cell phone tower but didn’t want the blight on their otherwise unsullied dun landscape. The answer was to erect a tower disguised as a saguaro. A day-or-so later, I hit up Sedona, where the major attraction are unseen energy vortexes. My dad was vocally disappointed that the vortexes were invisible. A tour guide offered this salve: “Everyone’s so worried about seeing something that they can’t ever seem to feel anything.” The trip ended with a visit to Tombstone, where the OK Gunfight is reenacted daily. Arizona’s a fucked, amazing place.
What genre does your book fall under?
2012 Conspiracy/Hollow Earth Theory/Stuntman Manual/Conservation Lit
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Beryl, the narrator, I’m thinking a mix of Ronnie Corbett and Tilda Swinton. For Hole, Beryl’s sister, let’s get a sun hardened Carla Gugino. Lastly, I’m happy to scour the free world to find a perspicacious little sweetheart to play Hole’s daughter Malice. Her time in the book is spent with a marker made chin tattoo similar to Olive Oatman’s.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
"Some other places were not so good but maybe we were not so good when we were in them."
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Agency, if they like it.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s ongoing. Twice I’ve gotten close enough to the end that I could’ve slit it’s throat, but both times it turned out not to be the book I was sent to kill.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Joy Williams’ The Quick and the Dead, Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City, J. Frank Dobie’s Coronado’s Children, Will Henry’s McKenna’s Gold, and, I don’t know, maybe the Popol Vuh.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Like I said before: fake cacti, invisible tourist attracts, and a ritual performance of slaughter.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
You mean their interest hasn’t already been crazy piqued? What if I were to tell the reader that this book is also about the search for the Lost Dutchman’s Gold?
Now, I was supposed to chain-letter five other bloggy people to get on this, but I don't really feel like doing that. The thing is, if you're a writer with a blog and you're reading this and feel like sharing your Work In Progress, then let me know. I'd love to read about it and steal all the good stuff.